I feel a little bad writing this. No matter how amazing an expedition, a daily account is rarely the most riveting way for it to be documented. And with a project like swimming the Thames, you’d be forgiven for thinking that one stretch is much the same as the next. That, however, is one of the main reasons I’m doing this.
Even with the Tube, which is helpfully colour coded, there is a still a tendency for the memories to merge into one in my head: Tired, hungry, aching and moving slowly through arbitrary suburb A. I’ve only done two trips so far but I can already tell that the Thames is going to be even worse for distinguishing one swim from the next.
As such, I’m sorry to admit that I’m largely writing this for our own benefit so that I can look back over the project with a better recollection of all that occurred. Hopefully some of you will get some benefit out of it too!
My favourite bit about our second swim was the simplicity. We parked in a lay-by at about 11pm, walked 200 yards to a field, unrolled our bivvy bags and went to sleep. In the morning we took our bedrolls back to the car, slipped into a wetsuit, swam for 90 minutes then walked back.
The water was warmer than last time and not at all unpleasant. It was deeper now that we were further from the source so there was much less need to wade and we spent a little more time with our heads down, front crawling. But for the most part, it was more like a gentle morning’s outing than any kind of exercise; floating serenely downstream as we were, through reed beds and past old buildings.
A cursory glance at the map the night before had revealed a bridge some way downstream which looked like a good spot to aim for. It was a pleasure to reach our destination feeling warm and not tired. The sun was out and made for a pleasant walk back the way we’d come to find towels and hot drinks. An unanticipated bonus of our project, of course, is that we’ll get to walk vast swathes of the Thames Path as we go.
Day 2: Monday 25th April, Castle Eaton to the bridge at Hannigton Wick, 2.6 miles (total swum: 6.6 miles)
Next Swim: This weekend. Email me if you want to come.